Nonprofit Essentials

Nonprofit Essentials

About This Course

Nonprofit organizations are often run first on passion before moving on to proven strategies and tactics. This course is designed to strengthen the leadership and management capacity of individuals working in or with nonprofit organizations through proven, researched and experienced strategies and tactics. The course is a series of nine skill-building classes specifically geared to address key functional areas and responsibilities within nonprofit organizations. Classes cover a range of topics essential to the governance and management of nonprofits such as Board Development and Governance, Fundraising, Planning and Evaluation, Communication and Marketing, Human Resource Development, Financial Management and Strategic Planning.

Nonprofit Essentials schedule



Course Logistics

  • Location: Wake Forest University Charlotte Center
  • Duration: September 2018 – April 2019
    9 In-Class Sessions (No December session)
  • Class Times: Thursdays, 8:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Cost: $1800
    Session payments available, $250 per session.

Next start date: September 20, 2018

More information

Session Registration Open- Contact Us

New!  2018-2019 options

Bundling & Additional Certificate Recognition: We recommend bundling this course as a specialization with Professional Foundations (fall) and Professional Foundations (winter) to receive additional recognition and a long-term, customized professional development plan with the Professional Excellence suite (Professional Foundations + Professional Optimization + Nonprofit Essentials)

certificateBundling Discounts available
When registering for another Certificate course, after your Nonprofit course, within the 2018-2019 academic year, you receive a 5% discount.

The Wake Forest University Certificates Program is an open-enrollment, non-credit bearing program.

Professional Credits Available

CFRE Logo    SHRM Recertification Provider

*See Certificate Eligibility & Professional Credits

Course Take-Aways

  • Introduction – Walk away with current trends and challenges from the nonprofit sector and how they may (or may not) apply to your organization.  Goal definition.
  • Strategy – Do you have a strategic plan and process for your organization?  Know how to select an analytical and organizational approach to strategy formation.
  • Governance – Know the purpose, responsibilities and job of a nonprofit board as well as overall best practices for governance and legal compliance in nonprofit organizations.
  • Budget & Finance – Up-to-date facts on the financial front. Read and interpret financial reports and records effectively and well.  Know how to create a budget and understand the importance of the 990.
  • Fund Development– Implement effective processes & practices that lead to successful fundraising. Refresh or build your arsenal of fundraising principles and practices, including development planning and processes, giving motivations, annual fund, major donors, gift planning, capital campaigns, and prospect research.
  • Human Resources – Have best-practice principles in-hand for motivating employees and creating a culture of volunteer engagement as we cover such topics as recruitment, retention, development and evaluation of staff and volunteers
  • Communication – Leave no stone unturned!  Know best practices and best techniques for messaging and branding your nonprofit organization – including social media.
  • Evaluation – Use and apply basic principles for effective program planning and evaluation.
  • Capstone – Take away the experience and advice of seasoned nonprofit leadership.  Hear from each other – in both application and effect.  Move forward as a strengthened nonprofit professional with an expanded and supportive community.

Course Designed For

This classroom opportunity is open to the community and designed to strengthen those pursuing careers or significant roles in nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit board members, staff and volunteers are encouraged to attend.

 Nonprofit Essential Certificate Graduate, Mario

Certificate Course Details

  • Course Content

    1. Introduction to Nonprofit Essentials
    September 20, 2018
    Instructors: Joanne Beam and Holly Brower
    In this first class of a nine-session series, we will provide an orientation to the course, discuss expected outcomes, and define class goals.  Participants will also create their own goals for the course and then reflect on the progress made in reaching those goals during the final, Capstone class.

    2. Strategic Thinking
    October 11, 2018
    Instructor: Dan Fogel
    Learn how to think strategically using critical questions to develop a successful strategy for your organization.  We will ask who are your core stakeholders, how can you best address their needs, and what sequence of activities will ensure successful outcomes. We will use case studies and discussion to examine effective strategies and assess the importance of an organization’s position in the external market.  At the end of the session you will understand how to select an analytical and organizational approach to strategy formation and implementation, and overcome strategic myths.

    3. Governance and Compliance
    November 1, 2018
    Instructor: Jean Vielleux
    Review best practices for governance and legal compliance for nonprofit organizations. The class will explore the role of the board, building an effective board, and managing the relationship and roles of the board and staff. Learn successful advocacy strategies used to advance an organization’s mission for public good, and how to address related tax compliance issues. Other compliance to be addressed include charitable solicitation rules, state taxation matters, and hot topics in employment law for nonprofits. Finally, gain tools to minimize exposure to liability for the board and the organization.

    4. Budget and Finance
    November 29, 2018
    Instructor: Matthew Socha
    An organization’s marketability improves with greater financial clarity for the donor.  Nonprofit Board members and staff are more effective when they understand the impact of decisions on the organization’s financial health.  In this session we will explore nonprofit budgeting and finance, including finance terminology, the components of nonprofit financial statements, the 990 and a working understanding of income statement and balance sheet. Discuss the best ways to communicate financial data to internal and external constituencies.

    5. Fund Development
    January 10, 2019
    Instructor: Joanne Beam
    Learn key strategies and tactics for successful fundraising, including developing and sustaining donor relationships, understanding the critical role of board members and volunteers in successful fundraising, creating a plan to guide your efforts and monitoring your effectiveness, and planning effective donor communications. Explore how technology can enhance development efforts by being used as a fundraising, communications and marketing tool.

    6. Human Resources
    January 31, 2019
    Instructor: Holly Brower
    The most important part of any organization is its people. This session will address key topics such as recruitment, retention, development and evaluation of staff, volunteers; the importance of diversity in the nonprofit workforce; and specific strategies to create a motivating and rewarding work environment.

    7. Communication
    February 21, 2019
    Instructors: Adam Bernstein and Amanda DeWeese
    Explore marketing, branding and public relations fundamentals. Learn how to develop and implement a strategic marketing communications plan that best fits the needs of your organization. This class will also address the “Rules of the Game” for social media and websites with helpful tips from experts in the field.

    8. Evaluation
    March 14, 2019
    Instructor: Kathy Ridge
    The Nonprofit sector is under pressure to show meaningful results. This class will examine different evaluation models and lead you through the process of designing an approach to measure programs, create meaningful measures, collect and analyze data, generate a report, and communicate results to document impact, improve services, and support fundraising efforts.

    9. Capstone Session
    April 4, 2019
    Instructors: Joanne Beam and Holly Brower
    The last course in the series will focus on lessons learned, best practices, and current issues facing nonprofits regionally and globally. We will also examine leadership styles and the different roles leaders play in an organization.

  • Meet the Instructors


    Joanne BeamJoanne O’Brien Beam, Lead Faculty. Joanne is an experienced fundraiser, planner, and presenter.  She joined Wake Forest in April 2014 for the second time to lead the creation of new programs which include the Essentials of Business for Nonprofits, College LAUNCH, High School Summer Immersion Program, and to work with major donors as part of the Wake Will Campaign. Prior to joining Wake Forest, Joanne was the founder and president of Capstone Advancement Partners, a consulting firm serving nonprofit organizations through relationship and result driven fundraising strategies.  Over her 15 year career as a consultant, Joanne served a diverse group of nonprofit organizations with her thoughtful and pragmatic fundraising, governance and strategic advice. Her fundraising experience began in the development office at Wake Forest University where she served as Associate Director of Advancement. Prior to becoming a fundraising consultant, Joanne was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at the North Carolina Trust Company. Joanne’s career also includes five years as a commercial banker. Joanne is a cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University where she was President of the Student Government. In 2013, the Charlotte Business Journal named her one of the Top 25 Women in Business and in 1998, Joanne was named one of “Forty Leaders under Forty” in the Piedmont Triad.  In May 2014, she was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte by the Mecklenburg Times. Joanne is an active athlete and an avid golfer. She is married to Steve Beam and has one son.

    Adam BernsteinAdam Bernstein, APR has more than three decades of experience providing public relations and strategic communications counsel with expertise in internal/external communications planning, community relations, media relations, crisis communications, issues management, public affairs and marketing communications. He has worked extensively in healthcare, professional services, non-profit, real estate development and education. Adam is an Accredited Member of the Public Relations Society of America, as well as former president, board member and International Assembly delegate for the Charlotte Chapter of the organization. In 2015, he was awarded the chapter’s Infinity Award, given annually to a member “whose character, career and service represent the highest standards and who excels in the practice of public relations.” Adam has chaired the boards of numerous community organizations including the Foundation for the Charlotte Jewish Community, Temple Beth El and the Charlotte Civic Orchestra, and served as trustee of many others including the Charlotte Symphony, Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, Wildacres Leadership Initiative and United Family Services Men for Change campaign committee. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently working toward a Masters in Communications from Queens University in Charlotte.

    Holly Brower

    Dr. Holly H. Brower teaches Organizational Behavior, Leadership, Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector, and Leading Change. She has taught undergraduate, MBA and executive students, including in international programs in Germany, Austria and Nicaragua. She is also the faculty director of the internship program for the Business and Enterprise Management program. After receiving her B. S. in Business from Wake Forest University she spent 10 years managing organizations in the nonprofit sector in Illinois, Colorado and Iowa. Experiences in these organizations included strategic planning, hiring, supervision, motivation, and development of employees (both paid and volunteer), board development, community assessment and development and fundraising. She also earned an M.S. in Business from Iowa State University and after earning her PhD in 2000 from Purdue University, she taught at Butler University in Indianapolis before joining Wake Forest.

    Holly is an active member of the Academy of Management and the Southern Management Association. She is a former Associate Editor of “Academy of Management Learning and Education” Journal. Her research interests lie in the areas of corporate governance, leadership, trust and ethical decision making. Her research has appeared in publication outlets such as  “Journal of Management” and “Journal of Leadership and Organization Studies”. In addition, some of her research was spotlighted in the “Harvard Business Review.” She has also served on the boards of Girls Scouts, Centers for Exceptional Children, and Samaritan Ministries as well as holding several leadership roles in her church.

    Amanda DeweeseAmanda DeWeese, APR works with some of the most recognizable companies in the Carolinas and is a leader in Charlotte’s public relations industry. She provides strategic public relations counsel and media relations to clients in a wide range of industries such as education, engineering, professional services, public works, nonprofit and construction. She is also skilled in social media strategy, branding, advocacy, public affairs and project management. Amanda’s career began at Drayton Hall, a National Trust Historic Site in Charleston, SC, where she handled news media relations, planned events and assisted with marketing communications for more than two years. A College of Charleston graduate, Amanda received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2011 and served as president of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Charlotte Chapter in 2014. She has held various leadership roles within the chapter since 2006 and was the recipient of its Young Professional Award in 2009. In 2015, she was appointed to the board of directors of The Housing Partnership, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing for low-income families in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

    Dan FogelDr. Dan Fogel is an Executive Professor of Strategy. He specializes in strategic management, especially innovation processes in firms, including those located in emerging and transition economies and in emerging industries.  His research and teaching interest are on sustainability practices and principles, international business and strategy development, and innovation for large organizations.  He has worked extensively as a consultant nationally and internationally for diverse organizations, such General Electric, Motorola (Brazil), Lockheed Martin, Lucent (Brazil), TESS (Brazil), AT&T and Bank of America.  His awards include research grants, several teacher of the year awards, a Fulbright Scholarship to Brazil, the 1988 Winner of the Yoder-Heneman Award, and several times the Distinguished Professor Awards. Dan Fogel has served and is serving on Boards of Directors or Advisory Boards within the United States and abroad.

    Kathy RidgeKathy Ridge is the founder of Levridge Resources, LLC, based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
    Formerly a corporate Executive Vice President of Wachovia Corporation and then, the Executive Director of two nonprofits, Kathy has deep experience in leadership, problem assessment and organization ‘turnarounds’. Kathy’s finance background, coupled with her years in the nonprofit sector, has given her knowledge and practical application in being an innovative visionary who can get her hands dirty in tactical implementation.

    Kathy has served on the boards of the Charlotte Symphony, Child Care Resources, The Women’s Impact Fund, the Davidson College Friends of the Arts Board, The Arts Education Committee of the Arts and Science Council, and the Community Service Committee of First Presbyterian Church. She is serving on the board of directors of the Humane Society of Charlotte. Kathy has participated in Leadership Charlotte, The Wachovia Kenan Flagler School of Business Leadership Program, and has completed the McColl Center’s Innovation Institute and the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership.  She is currently on the Leadership Team for the National Alliance of NonProfits and serving as Co-Chair on the National Alliance’s task force on executive transitions.

    “I love working in partnership with the people dedicated to nonprofit work. I am very lucky each day to support nonprofit organizations that are changing the world around them.  I believe social change happens because of nonprofit leaders.  We are able to help strengthen their leadership and their organizations through working together on the best business model, ensuring alignment between their efforts and mission, and developing more capacity for them to serve.”

    Matthew Socha portraitMatthew Socha is Audit Senior Manager in the Charlotte practice of Cherry Bekaert, Matthew has a profound passion for serving educational and not-for-profit organizations. As a member of Cherry Bekaert’s Education and Not-for-Profit Industry Groups, Matthew provides audit, assurance and advisory services to private and public colleges and universities, community and technical colleges, independent K-12 schools, educational foundation and charitable organizations.

    Clients depend on Matthew for timely, practical guidance on many technical accounting and compliance issues such as implementation of new standards, compliance with federal and state laws and grant programs, fair value matters, endowment accounting, and more. Matthew also specializes in accounting and tax issues for private clubs.

    Professional Involvement

    • Hospitality Finance & Technology Professionals – Charlotte Blue Ridge Chapter
    • Charlotte Chamber’s Young Professionals
    • SACUBO Benchmark Project

    Jean Wright Veilleux is Vice President and General Counsel, Health Plan Solutions

     Jean has over twenty years of experience in healthcare law.  She joined Mission Health’s Legal Services Department in 2015, where her work focused on tax exemption, health care regulatory, business and compliance issues.  In April, 2017, she became Vice President and General Counsel for Mission’s Health Plan Solutions Division, with responsibility for Healthy State, Inc.  and Mission Health Partners, Inc.  She also advises Mission on various other corporate,

    Prior to joining Mission, Jean taught Health Law and Constitutional Law, published and spoke nationally on health law issues, and had a private practice advising physician clients.  Jean previously served as General Counsel for Novant Health’s regional headquarters in Charlotte, NC.

  • Prerequisites

    Course Prerequisites

    Participants must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. A TOEFL examination for non-native speakers of English is not required but students are expected to read, write and comprehend English at the graduate level to fully participate in and gain from the program. Requests for exceptions to these requirements must be made in writing to the program director at
  • Time, Location & Parking


    Classes are offered on Thursday from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM.
    In-class attendance is required for Certificate eligibility.  Missed classes are nonrefundable.

    Location & Parking

    Course will be held at the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center in Uptown Charlotte: 200 North College Street, Suite 150 Charlotte, North Carolina 28202

    Parking is available at no charge in the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center Parking Garage located on 5th Street and adjacent to the Wake Forest Charlotte Center.  (You may enter/exit the garage from 5th or 6th Street.)  Please bring your parking ticket in for validation.

  • Cost


    $1800 one-time registration and payment for all 9 classes (27 classroom hours). Registration is complete and your place in the class reserved, when payment is received.

    Session-by session payments available for $250 per session. Contact us for more information.

    What’s Included

    • Some course materials are provided
    • Parking provided, in the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center Parking Garage
    • Coffee and light breakfast snacks are available

    *Additional course materials may be recommended for student purchase.

    Student Recommended Reading/Purchase
    Human Resources (Session 6)
    January 31, 2019
    Instructor: Holly Brower

    Good To Great And The Social Sectors

    Nonprofit Scholarship & Pro Humanitate

    Wake Forest University has a great respect and appreciation for the work of nonprofit organizations in the communities in which we live and work. One way we wish to express our appreciation is to offer our ongoing support and provide this course in the true spirit of Pro Humanitate, our university motto. The motto is at the heart of what Wake Forest does as an educational institution. In its essence it means, bringing our best to share, serve and support others – from the individual in the classroom to the organizational level to entire communities and beyond.

    We are happy to highlight and share outstanding classroom leadership and skill development opportunities with you though this course, relating the information specifically to nonprofit organizations.

    Wake Forest University is pleased to offer the course as a place to build community, hone skills, network and grow together.

    We appreciate this opportunity to partner with you and hope you’ll be able to join us for a great journey together.


  • Certificate Eligibility & Professional Credits

    Certificate Eligibility

    Participants attending all sessions and successfully completing all required coursework within the course time-frame (September 2018 through April 2019) are eligible to receive a Wake Forest University Certificate.

    The Wake Forest University Certificates Program is an open-enrollment, non-credit bearing program.

    We invite you to contact us with questions or for more detail.

    Preapproved Professionals Credits

    CFRE Logo

    CFRECertified Fund Raising Executive 
                  Setting standards in philanthropy
    Full participation in the Wake Forest University Professional Certificate for
    -Nonprofit Essentials is applicable for 27 points
    -Conflict & Negotiations is applicable for 24 points
    in Category 1.B – Education of the CFREInternational application for initial certification and/or recertification.

    Other CFRE approved Professional Certificate Courses:

    SHRM Recertification Provider

    SHRMSociety for Human Resource Management
    Wake Forest University’s Professional Certificate Program is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. This program is valid for 27 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit

For More Information

For more information or to speak with a program advisor, please contact us.

Strengthen your professional network
Hear from community leaders
Interactive and targeted skill building
Learn, grow and receive recognition


April 2, 2019 @ 12-1 PM
Conflict & Negotiations
Register Here

April 4, 2019 @ 12-1 PM
Design Thinking
Register Here

April 9, 2019 @ 12-1 PM
Conflict & Negotiations
Register Here